What is the Best SUV For me?

matthattan1587matthattan1587 Member Posts: 53
edited December 2013 in Chevrolet
I am looking to upgrade to new SUV, but do not know which way to go. I currently have a 2004 Honda Accord Ex sedan (4cylinder 160 hp engine.) I loved the Honda Accord, but power was issue when merging onto short on ramps and stop sign on ramps here in New York City. I have so far looked at the Nissan Xterra and loved the way it drove. I was wondering what other cars I should look at. Here is what I am looking for:

1) A SUV that has a V6 engine.
2) A SUV that is not too large and has only a second row of seating like the Xterra.
3) An adequate amount of trunk size.
4) Looking to spend from $20,000 to $30,000

I know that the Xterra is considered a truck-based SUV, but I felt it drove similar to a car and had good interior and exterior features.
Gas mileage is not too big of a concern as I do not drive much (mostly a weekend car. Please let me know if the Exterra is the way to go or if there are any other smart alternatives?
Thanks M.M.


  • thecatthecat Member Posts: 535
    Nobody can tell you what is right for you. Go drive a few of the SUV's that meet your criteria (and there are more than a few) and pick the one YOU like best. The RAV and the Xterra are very different vehicles. The RAV is car based and by comparison to the X it aims at creature comfort as opposed to the X's off road capabilities IMO.
    Keep us posted on your search.
  • matthattan1587matthattan1587 Member Posts: 53
    Thank you for your input...

    I will have to test drive the new Rav4, but do you have any other suggestions besides the Rav4 and Xterra.
  • thecatthecat Member Posts: 535
    I'd give the Highlander a good look. It's been Consumer Reports top pick in the mid size SUV for some time. BMW has 2 models to look at - X3 & X5, the Honda Pilot. Heck, everybody is making SUV's these days. You probably owe it to yourself to take a look at the Ford & Chevy models too. They wouldn't be my choice but I'm not you.

    Actually, now that I think about it, given the fact that you're in the Big Apple I would avoid anything that had a rear mounted spare. It won't last long there. I had a spare stolen from underneath a pick-up once in Manhattan. If it's visible, it's gone.
  • jl_ssjl_ss Member Posts: 1
    Since you are in NY City, I assume off roading is not a priority and car like handling would be desirable. The new RAV4 V6 is extremely quick, is a smaller SUV, and has decent cargo area for it's size. The V6 only comes with 2 rows of seating right now and I believe it is about $28K.
  • matthattan1587matthattan1587 Member Posts: 53
    Thanks for the input, but as many people are saying it is extremely hard to find a V6 Rav4 in the color I want and the accesories I want. I will still keep looking and will try to test drive the Rav4. I also understand that the Xterra is an off road capable vehicle, but I think it has good looks inside and out. Also Nissan offers a 4X2 model so that would be a better choice for me in the city.

    I will also have ot check out the highlander for its tremendous remarks in CR, but I am looking for a more sporty looking SUV like the Rav4 or the Xterra. There are not too many sporty ones out there?? :confuse:
  • friendly_jacekfriendly_jacek Member Posts: 96
    Very untrue. I have base 4WD RAV4 V6 with 3rd row and paid under $25000.
    Only "sport" doesn't come with 3rd row option.

    True, 3rd row is hard to get but worth the effort as it gives you not only 7-passenger capacity but also 1350 lbs payload vs. only 850 lbs for 2 rows.
  • friendly_jacekfriendly_jacek Member Posts: 96
    I don't know what is your definition of "sporty", but you know, there are a few fine looking SUVs like Porche Cayenne, Subaru Tribeca, BMW SUVs, VW Tureag (? spelling), Volvo SUVs, etc, etc.
  • matthattan1587matthattan1587 Member Posts: 53
    Thanks for the suggestions, but the SUV's you mentioned are a little out of my league price wise. My family is looking for a reasonable priced SUV that I can drive. (I am the only one in the family that does.) I am also 19 so I would like a Suv that is more youthful. Also I will have my car at college so I am looking for something that can handle some cargo or those trips back home. The Xterra I think is very youthful, but it is hard to find any other alternatives??
  • master1master1 Member Posts: 340
    I think that I have the perfect vehicle for you - a Toyota Highlander. A new Highlander is coming out this fall so you can get a current Highlander for a cheap price. I own one and like most Toyota's, they always run and you'll never have to visit another dealer for maintenaince [Excluding normal services like oil changes, filter changes, etc...].
    Are Highlanders fun to drive? Toyota's are never praised, or said to be fun to drive like a Honda or Mazda. The Highlander will still give you enjoyable times though.

    The Highlander is also considered one of the quieter SUV's. You can also get it without a third row seat, which you prefer.

    I do not recommend a XTERRA. The roll over rating is a 3 star, and that will increase your insurace costs. The Highlander recieved 4 stars for roll over.
    Think about it...
  • dce33dce33 Member Posts: 6
    Take a look at the 2006 Hyundai Santa Fe or Tucson, also the new 2007 Hyundai Santa Fe which looks sleek and sportier. Also consider the Honda CRV 2007 that might be coming out in August, no more wheels at the back. If you want to get the accessories you want for less money you might want to consider the Hyundais which now doesnt seem too far quality wise compare with Honda or Toyota.
    As it was said before , go test drive all of them to determine which ones will really suit your taste.
  • master1master1 Member Posts: 340
    Do you have any more questions?
  • matthattan1587matthattan1587 Member Posts: 53
    Thanks for all your help. I am going tomorrow to look at many different cars and SUVS...which should I keep in mind besides the Highlander. Im going to look at the Pilot, Explorer and Xterra very closely along with the Highlander...any cars you recommend or suvs?
  • jeepcreeperjeepcreeper Member Posts: 18
    If you haven't already, go get the Xterra.It comes with stability control standard and as an option you can get curtain air bags for head protection. Besides, it's what you wanted in the first place.
  • suvwantedsuvwanted Member Posts: 2
    My husband and I are looking to buy a 'family' car...an SUV (no van:). We seem to be looking at asian made cars...he has a subaru and loves it. We did look at some North American cars and there really isn't much of a comparrison when it comes to warranty and quality. We've looked at the Mitsubishi Outlander, which offers a 5 year warranty (10 years on the transmition and engine) and 5 year roadside assistance. It is a compariable price to the Hyundai Santa Fe, which offers a 5 year warranty, 3 year roadside assistance and lifetime free oilchanges. The Santa Fe is a bit bigger and is a little cheaper. We haven't looked at Toyota or Honda yet....I have a feeling the CRV is above our price range. Any opinions as to which SUV might serve us the best?? I've heard lots of controversy over 'Japan' vs. 'Korean' made...although apparently the Hyundai's seem to be doing pretty well??? Help????
  • master1master1 Member Posts: 340
    Forget about Hyundai...Check out the CR-V. It'll be at, or below invoice now since the sales haven't been so hot for it and because a redesign is coming out.
  • steverstever Guest Posts: 52,454
    I don't Master1 - J.D. Power: Initial Quality Numbers Show Huge Increases for Hyundai. (Inside Line) I think Toyota and Honda are looking over their shoulders pretty hard at Hyundai.

    You're right about CR-V deals; with the new model coming out there should be some although the selection may not be good the longer you wait. I haven't looked at the Honda CR-V: Prices Paid & Buying Experience discussion in a while to see what the deals are like out there.
  • master1master1 Member Posts: 340
    Yea yea....I know about that JD. That's short term. LONG RUN - HA! Forget about Hyundai for the long run dependability.
  • steverstever Guest Posts: 52,454
    I'm old enough to remember when that was said about Toyotas, Hondas and Datsuns. I think the Korean's quality is getting there fast - keeping the CEO's out of jail would help. Otherwise the Thai trucks and Chinese and Indian rigs will be next in the rear view mirror. ;)
  • master1master1 Member Posts: 340
    I still wouldn't recommend a Hyundai nor will I ever buy one in my life. You know what I would recommend steve don't you! Big, has 6 wheels...lol....nevermind
  • steverstever Guest Posts: 52,454
    Yep, if you weren't such a good CarSpace friend, I'd really be razzing you, LOL.

    That reminds me - it's chat night again. Link's on the left - Subaru is the topic, but we drift ... a lot. Some evenings we wind up discussing Bluebirds. :shades:
  • bikeman3bikeman3 Member Posts: 85
    Remember what is going on in north korea and huyndai is currently on strike, long warranties are ok if you can get parts and service, resale value of honda and toyota are much better :)
  • sasukesasuke Member Posts: 77
    So I'm about 2-3 weeks away from buying an SUV, but I'm having trouble deciding on which to get..

    I'm considering the Pilot, Pathfinder, Mountaineer..not sure what else is out there..I'm looking at passanger comfort and performance as two top priorities and wanna keep it in the price range of these 3 SUVs..what do you guys think?
  • shallwechatshallwechat Member Posts: 20
    i have owned toyotas, oldsmobiles, fords and recently a chevy equinox. i purchased it in june, 2006 and just traded the thing in after sueing gm for a lemon. :lemon: i bought a honda for the first time. it is a pilot.

    i am in heaven, to say the least! best vehicle i have ever owned! i have had more compliments on this vehicle. i test drove a pathfinder and to me, it was rough. a friend of mine owns one and it hasn't done well over the last few years....it shakes, rattles and rolls! :cry:
  • sasukesasuke Member Posts: 77
    Thanks..and yea, I hear the pathfinder isn't that reliable which is a pity...

    I did come across the 4runner and that seems nice too..so i'm gonna check that out as well.
  • roadrunner70roadrunner70 Member Posts: 241
    check the 4 runner message board, big problems with vibration. i woulnd't touch one. rr70
  • sasukesasuke Member Posts: 77
    oo...thanks for the heads up...seems like it'll be the Pilot..only thing that bugs me are the color choices and the interior is somewhat bland...

    Also..at night..what color does it light up on the interior..with the spedometer? All pics are in daylight online lol
  • robin15robin15 Member Posts: 18
    Hello Stumped. I'm looking to purchase an SUV soon and am stumped too, not thrilled with the choices. I own a 1998 Mountaineer. It has been a fantastic reliable car. The electronics are going, radio display, rear window wiper, door locks BUT only recently, the car has 117,000 miles. I was never happy with the rear seat leg room. To me it is a small SUV. But like I said over all for 8 years, it's been great. I think out of the three you have listed I would look at the Pilot too. I did not test drive on yet. I did not like the third row seat, it looked crammed in there. I am looking at the Mitsubishi Endeavor. My brother has a 2004 and has not had any problems with it. He did mention that the manufacture suggests premium gas. I spoke to two different salesmen about that and they said you can use regular, if it pings use premium. He also said that unless it is marked on the gasoline door PREMIUM, you can use regular. Since the Endeavor gets 17 mpg, premium gas at every fill up would be a deal breaker, for me anyway. The price tag on the Endeavor is also below what you are looking at. I'm still not 100% sold on the Endeavor. STUMPED!!!!! :confuse:
  • sasukesasuke Member Posts: 77
    Well...it came down to the Pathfinder and Pilot..so here's the dilemma:
    I can lease an 06' Path LE for 369/m 42 months 12k miles 0down
    07 Pilot for 385 EXL with Nav for 42 months 12k miles 0 down

    What I liked about the pathfinder was it's strength..the thing just felt damn strong, more fun to drive, and a better sound system.

    Pilot was more comfortable inside and easier to drive. Also the wood trim inside makes it look totally different, I like it a lot more..What I can't stand about the Pilot is the interior leather choices..it's that washy grey or Saddle, WHICH I have yet to see what it looks like in a picture..

    I think I'm leaning towards the Pilot though.
  • robin15robin15 Member Posts: 18
    Stumped, hello again. Before you purchase the Pilot, read the reviews Honda Pilot Owners: Problems & Solutions , especially #15. I think i just ruled out the Pilot. Mitsubishi is offering $4,000 off a 2006 and $1,000 off a 2007 (Houston, Texas area). I think the Endeavor is looking better. The warranty is hard to beat too. Just trying to confuse the issue. *L* :)
  • robin15robin15 Member Posts: 18
    .... an after thought. I have NEVER heard anything good about a lease. At the end of your lease you'd of paid $15,500. for the Path and own nothing. Look at 2005, 6's with 12,000 approx miles in excellent condition to keep that monthly payment down. I am looking at new and low mile SUV's. I'd rather go in for dental work than look for a car. :cry:
  • shallwechatshallwechat Member Posts: 20
    i see in #8 mitsubishi is offering a large rebate. hhhmmm, it seems the vehicles that last longer don't offer them because they know people will buy them anyway. money isn't everything as i have learned. i purchased new vehicle in june with a large rebate. i was so excited...turned out to be a lemon. junk junk junk! now i own a pilot, which had no rebate.....and it is wonderful! i never owned a honda until now.....and now see that i was the one missing out all this time.
  • ralph9ralph9 Member Posts: 88
    If you read the "problems" forums for the vehicles you are considering, you will probably not want to purchase any of them. Take a look at the April issue of Consumer Reports in your library for ratings and maintenance histories of the past models for the vehicles you are considering.
    We have 10k miles on our 2005 Pilot and so far it's the best vechicle of the twenty we have owned in terms of looks and driveability. Honda has an excellent reputation for the reliability of their vehicles. My son leases a 4 Runner and it seems to seat only 4 people comfortably and also seems more geared to off-roading than the Pilot. I suggest taking a peek at the "carbuyingtips.com" site for ideas to consider during the process. Dealing with the internet salesperson is usally better financially. Good luck with your choice.
  • sasukesasuke Member Posts: 77
    I don't think I'd get a Mitsubishi, don't feel comfortable with that. The Pilot just seems safe, and I can't afford to buy a car, nor do I want to because after 3-4 years, I'd want a new one.

    And the new pilot coming out will be awesome, but unfortunately I can't wait.
  • robin15robin15 Member Posts: 18
    If you really want the new Pilot, relook at the lease and see if it can be turned in at the end of a year, then purchase the new pilot... just a thought
  • robin15robin15 Member Posts: 18
    Just curious, what is the make/model of the new vehicle you purchased in june? Did the manufacture take it back?

    Vehicles that last longer.... ? Mitsubishi did not slow production of their vehicles when gas prices soared, unlike other auto makers.. Mitsubi wanted to keep their plants open. So they have more cars on the lot. Good for the consumer.

    I am not completely sold on the Endeavor, nor any of the SUV's.. but no matter what i end up with, i haven't missed out on anything... certainly not what car i drive... :shades:
  • robin15robin15 Member Posts: 18
    I see in a previous post your lemon was a Chevy Equinox. That must of been a nightmare.

    My research shows the Best mid sized SUV's 2006
    1. Toyota 4 Runner
    2. Mitsubihi Endeavor (tied with the)
    3. Honda Pilot
    4. Nissan Murano

    Best Full size 2006
    1. Chevy Suburban
    2. Chevy Tahoe
    3. Toyota Sequoia
  • sasukesasuke Member Posts: 77
    Where do you "research"..just wondering. The Murano is nice, but the dashboard bugs the hell out of me..it's HUGE..and I want more cargo space.

    I check autos.com quite frequently..i like their lists.

    I'm leaning towards the Pathfinder now because it seems more fun than the Pilot..and less bland. Gonna go to a Nissan dealership again tomorrow and check it out.
  • sasukesasuke Member Posts: 77
    OK..i was just thinking...3rd row for Pathfinder and Pilot..I'm not gonna use it, most likely ever. So, with that being said, the main reason I want a midsize is due to the feeling of being in something larger than my previous cars, and I want to be higher on the road.

    So something clicked..Nissan Murano..It's rated very well AND has more 2nd row room than suvs with 3 rows of seats..so if i'm never using a 3rd row..would a Murano make a better choice than a pathfinder or Pilot..AND, I'll add, I don't go off-roading..I live in NYC..pot holes are enough for me. :shades:
  • steverstever Guest Posts: 52,454
    Maybe not - the curved seat back in the Murano gets dinged by some reviewers.

    "When it comes to space in cars, raw size really may not be that critical. How that space is used can be just as important. When professional organizations compare available cargo space between S.U.V.’s and station wagons, it is the sport-utility vehicle that often comes up short."

    Spacious and Efficient, but Not an Ego Trip (NY Times). Yeah, they are touting wagons, but there's a lot of SUV cargo info mixed in.

    But cargo hauling isn't on your list anyway so ....
  • sasukesasuke Member Posts: 77
    This is the hardest decision of my life..to this date..i'm 21 lol.

    Basically, i've owned a ford escort zx2, and got into bodybuilding..so I use my damn Knee as an armrest lol..this is why I'm going SUV..i need leg room when I drive (width) and shoulder room. I'm also the kinda person who wants passengers comfortable, so the 2nd row of the pathfinder is what kinda killed it for me, and the Pilot was much more comfortable than the PF, but bland, interior and exterior. The murano seems smack in the middle...not bland, and more room in the rear seat than the Pilot..not sure about drivers seat.

    The sound system in the Pilot sucked, and I know Nissan has Bose, which are very good..so the Murano may be more of a fun ride than the Pilot, and more comfortable than the Pathfinder..

    Sorry for the long post lol.
  • robin15robin15 Member Posts: 18
    look online for an online price, (yes, you have to hand out your phone # and address, i did this, the salesman called and then sent me online prices, better than prices i've gotten on the lot.
  • robin15robin15 Member Posts: 18
    Steve, With all your automotive knowledge, if you were to buy an SUV tomorrow... what would you purchase and why? Thanks for any info. :)
  • steverstever Guest Posts: 52,454
    lol, auto knowledge? Got you fooled. :D My last SUV was a 1974 Jeep CJ-5 and I've mostly driven wagons and minivans ever since.

    My first test drive would be a Ford Explorer and then I'd start benchmarking other brands to it. I'm pretty happy with my Nissan's drivetrain so I'd look pretty hard at a Pathy I suppose. Mileage, tuned for regular fuel, torque, ease of carrying long stuff stuck under the rear seats and drivetrain warranty would be high on the list of wanted features. No suicide doors or swing gates please. And the step-in height shouldn't be too high up there either.

    Waaaay too many choices out there! ;)
  • robin15robin15 Member Posts: 18
    Steve, tanks!!

  • beardiebeardie Member Posts: 44
    Hello....If I could jump in here for a minute..I am also considering the vehicles mentioned here. My thoughts are as follows: 1) The Toyota 4Runner seems to have a lot of people complaining about a big vibration issue. Some can't wait to get rid of the car. 2) I've owned Mitsubishis and had no luck with them. They were very poorly made (plastic anchors everywhere etc.) 3) The pilot does seem to be a very good car, however in order to get leather, you need to go to the EXL which puts the price above $32K. There are no more 06s around and Honda isn't giving any great deal on 07s.The pilot is also due to be totally changed for 08. 4)Now the Mountaineer...I see my local dealer with 06s, loaded with leather...MSRP $33,505, selling it for $23,990!! That's a big difference. Is the Mountaineer that much worse than the Pilot?? I know the gas milage is worse, but that's a big difference to make for. Decisions, Decisions!!!
  • sasukesasuke Member Posts: 77
    I test drove the moutaineer and it was nice, but weak as hell...I guess you'd have to get the V8 to make it a better drive.
  • robin15robin15 Member Posts: 18
    Hello. I own a 1998 Mountaineer. It has been an excellent, reliable, problem free SUV with plenty of power (V6), even when packed (trips). I think it is a good one to consider (the mpg is not bad). Because of the milage (117,000), it needs to be replaced. After much deliberation, i purchased a 2006 Buick Rainer. The funny thing is, it wasn't an SUV i considered, i didn't know they existed. It is loaded with extras and very plush. I've driven it all weekend and an VERY happy with my decision. The hunt is over. Good luck to all with your hunt. :shades:
  • robin15robin15 Member Posts: 18
    sasuke.... one more thing about the lease. The monthly payments are usually lower than a purchase, BUT the last payment is usually $2,000 - 3,000. Killer. Check to see what the last payment is. If you are financing always get a simple interest contract with no prepayment penalty. Good luck. :)
  • sasukesasuke Member Posts: 77
    The last payment is the same as every other payment...
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